Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wherever the Right Road Exists, By All Means Take It

This post serves a number of mind clearing purposes. Admittedly it involves a bit more emotion than usual for this blogger, so some readers might want to pass!

There are times when - even though I say a prayer at night for all here on planet Earth, I realize that my concerns for other world travelers don't translate as well as they should. In other words, even though I care about others, sometimes I still come across as cold and distant, in the eyes of people who matter to me! Believe me it's a reflex I try to overcome - and some friends have let me know since college days that I was "standoffish". But like many others, my reserve is in part a defense so that I won't show other emotions that might be even more disconcerting to others... 

As we get older, class, social status and general recognition (or not) comes into the issue of our own portrayal to the world, as well. People who are well known and respected are often asked to show more of their emotional nature for good reason, in that others already feel they can trust them and so would be confident of the "results". However, such a strategy can be inappropriate for those not so well known. When interacting amongst others who don't really have adequate context to know why we are in their presence, keeping to oneself may even become a sign of respect, so that others don't feel threatened or intimidated.

Different "roads" to choose from, in spite of similar life circumstance? Yes. Even so, people need road signs to understand the differences in access, and it helps when everyone understands that some roads simply don't remain open to everyone through the course of their lives. That also means entire sets of decision options may become altered in the process, because perfectly good roads nonetheless lead to different outcomes. Often, much of the psychological, social, even economic literature assumes we walk the same roads - and that the same emotive or strategic responses are welcomed regardless of class, gender, etc.

Unfortunately it's not quite that simple. What's important  - however - is remembering the fact that different roads and paths are okay. That's the point people sometimes miss, when it is assumed blanket ideas or solutions i.e. the same roads apply to all, whatever the issue at hand. By the same token, the ideas and suggestions I offer are not everyone's idea of rational, and that's okay too. But I certainly apologize if - and possibly when - I may come across as dogmatic and inconsiderate.

That's what apparently happened, when I discovered some friends could not find any way to relate to my work. What's more, the process almost felt like an "intervention" at the same time. What rationale existed for my ongoing economic project, if it was not "supporting" me in any readily definable way? Still, I only had myself to blame for such a defensive reaction on their part. Apparently I made it seem as though my friend's approach was lacking in some way, and clearly I had done a lousy job of explaining my own position. As a result, my suggestions came across not only as an affront to the work which others were already carrying out, but by all appearances I was not making good use of my own time and future prospects. Was that really true?

It's not just those of us who finally have to slow down a bit, who need new roads to walk in life - by any means. That's the point I wanted to make, for the friend who could not understand why I was so adamant in my commitment to this project dating from 2003. What practical use? How can anyone in my personal life even relate to such seemingly abstract concepts? These are valid questions which can't be readily answered. If my personal endeavor were actually related to career or income, this whole matter would be playing out a bit differently. Instead, some will continue to reason well into the future: shouldn't this "endless" pursuit be just be a hobby on my part?

And yet the answers go back to what have become - for me - some basic beliefs. Over the decades, I slowly became convinced that the most important problems society faces have an unmistakable economic underpinning. In recent years spent online, the dialogue of what became associated with Market Monetarism brought an element of balance as well. More than anything, the balance factor and interplay of economic elements it suggested, further honed my own emphasis and focus.

Even so, the problem remains that these conversations are not easy to explain to a general public, which could truly benefit from understanding them. Not only does language use diverge in various institutional specialties, there is the additional problem of social and class distinctions in everyday language use as well. If this were not already enough: many people, once they leave work, find deep discussion of anything that requires a considerable amount of thought, quite overwhelming. Those of us who carry the work of our minds around all day can be an outright nuisance to others, who want to use off time and evening moments for relaxation and fun.

So I am going to have to get better at working with these processes. Different individuals are going to need different languages, not to mention different emphasis and perspective depending on what they do for a living. As much as I would like to use a single language, it's not really possible to do so, to reach a wide audience. There will be times when I should be simple and repeat things over and over, just as there will be times when I need to forge ahead with what initially may make little sense at all. Just the same, people want the same basic elements from life, even though they express their wants quite differently. Wherever better roads exist, by all means let's take them.

By no means am I going to stop now or turn around to pursue something else. For the first time in my life I have finally found my own voice, along with real freedom to at least choose what matters most. This freedom wasn't won cheap and it's certainly not easy to maintain, but it is neither a burden or a sacrifice. As I told my concerned friend, I am not sacrificing anything to continue in this journey. Perhaps this is even the road that will "Take Me Home", for "I've been a prisoner all my life" (as Phil Collins sang). There are way too many notes left on my desk. Okay, it's time for that scotch...

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